May 11, 2015

In an industry overflowing with boutique pedal manufacturers, Matthews Effects has delivered two very interesting products with with their Conductor Tremolo and Cartographer parametric overdrive pedal.

The Cartographer is capable of delivering everything one could want in an overdrive pedal – clean boost with the gain down and tube amp-like saturation when driving the pedal.

Where this pedal truly shines is in the innovation of the parametric EQ control. Unlike most other drive pedals that offer a singular ‘tone’ knob to affect highs and lows, the Cartographer offers two controls for the EQ – frequency (ranging from 100Hz-4kHz) and boost/cut of the chosen band.

This means that you can specifically target problem frequencies or boost the pleasant ones that compliment your specific rig design, so literally no guitar/pickup/amp combination is impossible. Factor in the great tone and drive versatility offered by the Cartographer and we have very interesting stompbox indeed.

Regarding the Conductor tremolo, its controls are where the pedal stands out with its unique versatility. The depth knob, capable of quite a wide range, is the only “standard” tremolo control. Speed/rate controls are done via the tap-tempo switch and controls for division of effect, which combined allow you to create very precise sounds.

Waveform options include sine, square, ramp, and ramp-down waves. To compensate for inherent perceived volume loss of the tremolo effect there is a smooth built-in clean boost that really adds punch to your sound. Lastly, the tone control allows for tailoring the EQ of the effect to your particular rig, ensuring that your sound isn’t lost in a busy band mix.

The conductor retails for $250, and is one of the most flexible and unique tremolo pedals around. – Brandon Stoner

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